Friday, February 3, 2012

The Essentials of a Super Bowl Party

From KOBEsh:

I met Que-Ese on the baseball field, with me as an obnoxious 17 year old and him as a precocious 15 year-old who thought the word "precocious" meant you could tell the future. We bonded on several levels, none of which having to do with our skills (or lack thereof) on the diamond. Over the years, we've stayed friends mostly on the strength of our irrational love for Matt Kemp, unnecessary criticism of the Lakers and my continual puzzlement on why he listens to so much Phish. Que-Ese will be covering a sundry of topics for MAMBINO, including college sports, MLB, NBA, NHL and whatever else his hungry mind touches on. Just don't mention the words "Frank" or "McCourt" to him. It sends him into a blind rage. I once saw a hot dog vendor ask if he wanted mustard on his frank and Que-Ese straight up kicked a baby. I thought that was a bit extreme.

This weekend there is a small American holiday known commonly as Super Bowl XLVI. As I am not good at math and really never paid much attention to Roman numerals I can make a best guess that this annual Sunday event has been taking place for something like 50 years. The pomp and circumstance involved with the most Super of Sundays now begins a full two weeks before the actual game takes place (thanks NFL, I always thought I wanted to wait until AFTER the Pro Bowl to watch funny Volkswagen commercials).

This year Indy was kind enough to include new features such as a zip line outside the stadium (because if you visit downtown Indy you really want to see it from a higher angle), a media day that you can pay money to attend, and the shambles of Peyton Manning’s career as a backdrop for why the weeks and days prior to the Megabowl mean absolutely nothing besides a reason to justify 24 hours of coverage from the sports media.

In the entirety of this whole dance I remember what matters the most. As a native of a land without an NFL sports franchise (though currently home to Matty Franchise), I learned at a young age that the Super Bowl is rarely a good game, always over-hyped, and really only a good time if you are enjoying a good party (or rooting for one of the teams playing). NOTE: if you are rooting for a team competing in the main event, these tips do not apply. Since I have a deep hatred for all things New England AND New York sports, I thought it would be helpful to explain the 5 most important essentials for a good Super Bowl party and ultimately, a pleasant Super Bowl experience.

1. The TV

For the Super Bowl (and football viewing in particular), size does matter. I don’t care how badly your family/friends/coworkers want you to come over and watch the game with them, you cannot attend unless they can assure you their TV is larger than 50 inches. Normally, I can overlook this factor but with a game that often times is decided by intense instant replay challenges, a bigger television is necessary. Truthfully I believe all referees have a very tough job in making decisions while trying to keep up with the fastest and biggest athletes in the world. However, with the larger screen, I judge them loudly and relentlessly along with the company of the SBP.

TVs should also be LED. Now unlike KOBEshigawa, I have no idea what this means. All I know is that after my new roommate moved in a year ago and brought his 55-inch LED screen TV, my life has changed. I can now see Joshua Smith’s (UCLA) manboobs in clear focus or Sal Alosi’s tripping skills in brilliant HD.

2. The Ratio

I cannot stress this enough. When a game involves your team, or you are really interested in tuning out any/all conversation, don’t host a party. But if you are trying to have a pleasant Sunday afternoon with friends in the glow of American exceptionalism, you need to have a proper ratio. This means your invitations should go out to ladies with a ratio of 3:1 in their favor. Obviously, not all girls are going to be as into the game as you or your buddies which is EXACTLY why there should be more of them than your buddies. Conversation will inevitably revolve around funny commercials and topical topics as opposed to the typical “Dude Victor Cruz could totally beat the Law Firm in a footrace” that you have debated every NFL Sunday at your local watering hole.

Again, this is not another typical gameday gathering. This is an American cultural event a la a 4th of July party. If you were having a party celebrating America’s birth and you invited more dudes than ladies you could expect plenty of flack and a promise from many of your bros to never attend one of your events in the future.

3. Spatial Awareness

This one is simple. If you have a tiny apartment in New York, don’t invite a houseful of people over. If, like in my case, you live in a fairly spacious group home (DC hood baby!), don’t invite your entire Gmail contacts list as if you are having a kegger. My rule of thumb is a simple mathematic equation:

1.25 * [Entire amount of seats available (couch + folding chairs + lazy chair)]

In the case of my house it worked out a little something like this:
2 Couches (6 possible butts) +
6 folding chairs (6 possible butts) +
1 lazy chair (1.5 possible butts (think armrest sitting) =
13.5 possible attendees.

Take all this and multiply by it 1.25 and you get 16.875 people. Obviously round up and I reached a maximum of 17 invites.

It is important to note that when you send out your invites, people will decline and/or bring more friends. Since not everyone will be as interested in the game as others, having a surplus of butts to chairs is not only acceptable but encouraged. Everyone will be able to have a clear shot at the TV even if a handful of folks need to stand in the back of the room to watch the hopefully climactic finale. This way, if your ratio is right, you can have room for folks to mack, room for folks to sit and watch the game, and room for folks to grub up. This brings me to the next essential.

4. The Grub

Americans are fat. We like fried food. Hell, we fry candy bars because we are so damn fat. Do not encourage healthy options at your party. This is about being as American as possible. Not about having a Terry Bradshaw turnaround or following the Gospel of Slim Chuck. You, like me, are lazy. You may or may not be able to cook. Which is why you need to clarify in your invitation that a condition of attending your SBP is bringing food or booze.

This works out positively in several ways:

1. If you paid attention to ratio, the ladies will get excited about cooking up something special for the game (yes that’s sexist, but that is exactly what is happening on my invite email chain)
2. Your bros will bring beer or ensure that the chips and dip are accounted for (or in the case of the best bros, will be making epic marinated super spicy wings)
3. You have little preparation to do besides making sure the TV works, house is cleaned up, and you have plenty of red cups in case a game of pong/flip cup breaks out during the pre-game

SBP food essentials include but are not limited to:

Several layered dip (3 is the minimum amount of layers allowed)
Wings (spiciest you can make)
Fried chicken
Various desserts

If you do not have appropriate chips, dip or other goodies, you failed as a host. So while you have encouraged your guests to bring food, follow up to make sure they actually are bringing enough grub. Take pride and take note that leftovers are delicious on the first Monday without an NFL season.

5. The Lubrication and Call Time

You and your housemates may have different friend circles. This usually isn’t a problem if you have chosen your housemates properly. However, these different circles are going to need to get their Venn Diagram on. During the game is not the best time for everyone to meet and do the standard.

So instead of having everyone arrive just in time for the National Anthem, call your party for well before the ever ridiculous 6:29PM EST start time (really Goodell? Couldn’t settle for 6:30 like a normal American!?). Call your party for as early as 4PM. Here in the nation’s capital, calling something for 4PM means my first guests will arrive at 5 (ever fashionably late). If you time it out from there and add in some aggressive drinking (competitive table games encouraged and NOT judged even if you are far removed from those undergraduate days), your guests will be well lubricated and over their limited social skills.

Now at the end of the day, the game can make up for any SBP mixups/failures. If an epic 4th quarter comeback goes down, it doesn’t matter that you forgot the proper ratio or ran out of guacamole. However, the likelihood of anyone born outside of the Northeast being happy with the result of this Super Bowl (remember, a team from NE or NY will win this game) is low and for that very reason, your party should be a welcome distraction, complete with abundant food, friends, and booze. Good luck and happy holiday!

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